Why is Organisational Change Not Working?

Why is Organisational Change Not Working?

The global pandemic coupled with the crisis in Eastern Europe have increased uncertainty and anxiety at many levels for some businesses. Companies need to remain agile to survive in these challenging times and it is more important than ever that the resources and time put into any change achieve the full benefits intended. However, change is complex and challenging to get right. If your organisation is trying to implement change but not achieving the objectives set, you’re not alone.

Many organisations are going through the same thing. But to set up an effective change programme or turn around any failing organisational change, you first need to identify the factors which are truly holding it back from achieving its goals, and how to address these through the right approach to implementation.



Many factors work against organisational change and all too often it is a combination of these which builds resistance, impacts morale thereby preventing organisations from realising the value from the desired changes. More often than not, the impact of failing to deliver translates into poorer than anticipated performance which, ironically, puts more pressure on the organisation to change.

In our experience, the following factors often have the greatest impact on change programmes:

  • No clear intent –  simply looking to fix the failures of the status quo isn’t enough – as John P. Kotter said, you need to create a strong vision of the future organisation you’re working towards to pave the path for the change transformation.
  • Multiple sources of ‘the truth’ hinder programme progress and timely decision-making – good decisions need to be based on accurate and clear data and if multiple sources are competing to represent the correct picture of where things are, key decisions will be impacted or misinformed, holding back progress. One source of the truth is required at all times throughout a change.
  • People resist change – whether they realise or admit it, most people are predisposed to resist change, if you don’t believe us try making a small change to your morning routine. Organisations often gloss over the need to consider people as part of any change and fall foul of the natural human default to resist.
  •  People try to create new functionality from old systems, rather than embrace a new way of working – this is one of the most powerful ways in which people inside organisations resist change – by trying to hold on to systems they know and trust, rather than embracing the uncertainty that comes with a new system which invariably means a new way of working that they have no experience of.
  •  Cultural aspects of change are often an afterthought – organisational culture, commonly defined as ‘how we do things round here’, has a powerful influence on all organisations – setting the deep-rooted norms for organisational behaviour. These norms have to be taken into account when designing a change programme that will succeed.


Designing Change Implementation that Works

Avoiding these common problems might seem self-evident but most change programmes fail to achieve their objectives or only partially achieve them. Building change on the right foundations gives you the best chance of success and in 4C Partners experience should encompass four central elements:

Clear Vision and Prioritisation
Identifying and focusing on the most important areas of delivery with clear scope, aligned resources and a vision from leadership which provides a strategic thread linking business priorities to objectives throughout the organisation.

Certainty on Progress
Consistently tracking and reporting progress using accurate data in a timely way based on agreed deliverables and milestones, clear accountabilities, governance and accurate measurement.

Ensuring all focus areas fit together in a coordinated and integrated manner with a holistic picture of the full scope of change, a consistent approach to implementation across the programme with all interfaces understood and managed.

Quality of Delivery
Assurance that the change focus areas deliver the agreed benefits and new values and ways of working into the organisation.

Our approach at 4C Partners blends together adaptive (human) behavioural change around the way that individuals prefer to work, which often creates the resistance, with the changes to working procedures, such as processes, systems, tools and techniques. Combining these two throughout the change journey creates the conditions in which the programmes are most likely to succeed and be sustainable.


Single Integrated System for Delivery and Performance

One of the most vital but overlooked components in any change programme is to have one version of ‘the truth’ and a good system to manage the data which creates this ‘true view’.

While some companies create their own system, our bespoke change management system is one of the best in ensuring any change programme implementation achieves its intended outcomes. 4C Partners change management tool can be tailored to each organisation and is used to organise and deliver the change. It does this by encouraging collaboration with others in the organisation via one platform for all to use, which holds the data to create the one verified source of ‘the truth’.

Near real-time and accessible anywhere, anytime, our change management system provides a full view of the change programme taking place but also measures ROI as progress is made giving certainty of where an organisation is on the journey.

It also increases transparency and trust, speeds up decision-making and minimises manual work. By eliminating outdated PowerPoints and Excel spreadsheets for project management, our system reduces time lags on programme progress while giving decision-makers the full view of the change with forward-looking information they need to make the right decisions.


Focus on People to Succeed

For change to succeed new behaviours have to be rooted into social norms and shared values. In our experience this adaptive side of change is often overlooked which will threaten sustainability. Firstly, it is important that leaders make a conscious effort to show people how the new approaches, behaviours and attitudes will help to improve performance. Without this conscious effort there is a risk that people make their own connections which can result in a de facto culture which, most likely, will be a hybrid of what you had and what you want. Secondly, it is important that time is taken to make sure the future generation of leaders espouse the values and behaviours that personify your new approach, one wrong decision can undermine all of the efforts to make a change.


Get in touch

4C Partners (4CUK) is a business change consultancy that helps organisations to identify and deliver change to unlock their business performance.

We work alongside senior leaders, decision-makers and employees to support change implementation, reduce the risks and uncertainties of programme delivery and build internal capabilities to put organisations firmly in control of their change programmes and beyond, so they can be confident in realising the future their business needs.

4C Partners supports organisations deliver change at every stage of the business lifecycle including:

  • Business Strategy
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Business Turnaround
  • Business Transformation
  • Business Continuous Improvement
  • Closedown & Transition


For more information on how 4C Partners could help your organisation, get in touch.